Foods that can help, or hurt, inflammation

title of blog post

This excerpt is from an article written by Judith Fertig in the July edition of  the free publication Natural Awakenings

10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Any time our bodies sense an “invader”—a microbe, virus, plant pollen or unwelcome chemical—they go into high alert, producing white blood cells to fight it off. Once the danger has been thwarted, normal functioning returns.

If we continue to expose ourselves to these threats, then the high-alert process, known as inflammation, becomes chronic. This disturbance of natural equilibrium can lead to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, depression and pain. It can also mask or worsen autoimmune diseases. Eating foods with natural anti-inflammatory properties can help the body function better.

Physician Support

“Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects,” says Dr. Frank Hu, also a Ph.D. and professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life.”

Hu, Josh Axe, a chiropractor and doctor of natural medicine, in Nashville, Tennessee, and Dr. Andrew Weil, director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, promote anti-inflammatory foods, backed by recent studies, on their websites.

“Small, gradual changes are typically more sustainable and easier for the body to adapt to,” writes Axe. “So rather than emptying your pantry and sailing off to the Mediterranean, you can pursue an anti-inflammatory diet one step at a time.”

That’s what Andrea Adams Britt did. A professional wedding cake baker from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Britt experienced bewildering symptoms, including digestion issues, depression, migraines, weight gain and skin irritation. In 2015, she eliminated flour and sugar from her diet, and then added more organic leafy green vegetables, coconut oil and wild-caught salmon. Her symptoms went away one at a time, and by last January, she had also lost 100 pounds. The solution for her was to create flavorful dishes that she enjoyed eating, so she did not feel deprived.

Weil advises, “The best foods are those that offer disease-preventive benefits such as anti-inflammatory effects and delectable flavor. When I eat such foods, I feel as though I’ve hit a grand slam homerun—the sensory pleasure is heightened by the fact that each bite contributes to my overall well-being.”

His take on an Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid offers a broad sample of these foods in an easy, downloadable graphic.

Reducing inflammation in her body has also led to better mental and emotional health for Britt. “I am a happier person,” Britt says. “I can control my emotions, focus my thoughts and am more at peace.”

Read the full article and their list of 10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods plus foods that can cause inflammation, and should be avoided!

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